Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

Barbara Brown Taylor, Author . Harper San Francisco $23.95 (234p) ISBN 978-0-06-077174-4

A widely acclaimed preacher, Taylor draws on her homiletical skills in this finely crafted memoir with a simple plot: an Episcopal priest exhausts her inner resources, first in an urban church and then in a small country parish; she changes jobs, struggles and finds renewal. Such a synopsis, however, does not do justice to Taylor's literary style in this rich evocation of her lifelong love affair with God. "When I think of my first cathedral," she writes, "I am back in a field behind my parents' house in Kansas, with every stalk of prairie grass lit up from within." Drawn to the church, she compulsively overworks: "I had such a strong instinct for rescue that my breasts fairly leaked when I came across those in need of rescuing." Though she has found new employment, she realizes she is still a priest: "I miss being a lightning rod, conducting all that heat and light not only from heaven to earth but also from person to person." Current and former clergy will relate to her comical and sometimes touching descriptions of parish life, while memoir buffs will savor her journey as she identifies her core beliefs, sets boundaries and learns to relish her "blessed swath" of the world. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/13/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-137791-4
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Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-210079-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-210078-8
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